Kashmir Valley cut off due to fresh snowfall
Fresh snowfall was recorded in many areas, especially in the higher reaches of Kashmir, leading to the closure of Srinagar-Jammu national highway, even as more wet weather has been forecast over the next few days.
The Meteorological Department has forecast scattered rains or snow on Sunday, fairly widespread rains or snow on Monday, widespread rains or snow over three days from January 24-26 and scattered rains or snow a day after.
Many parts of the Valley experienced fresh snowfall last night with the plains, including Srinagar, witnessing light snow in the wee hours, a MeT official here said. He said there were reports of snowfall in many areas, especially in the higher reaches of Kashmir, including in the areas along Srinagar-Jammu national highway in the Valley.
Kupwara in north Kashmir recorded 4 cm of fresh snowfall during the last 24 hours, while Pahalgam hill resort recorded 13 cm of fresh snow.
Srinagar recorded 0.8 cm of fresh snowfall, the official said.
Fresh snowfall in the areas along the arterial road, the only all-weather road-link connecting Kashmir Valley with the rest of the country, forced its closure. "The national highway has been closed for traffic due to slippery conditions on the road at many places because of the snowfall," an official of the Traffic Department told PTI.
One-way traffic on the highway was scheduled to ply from Srinagar to Jammu on Sunday but the vehicles were stopped near Qazigund as the road was slippery, he said.
The MeT official said the region is likely to be hit by a fresh western disturbance on Sunday. The forecast of wet weather for almost a week has prompted the divisional administration to issue directions for taking precautionary measures.
Kashmir is currently under the grip of 'Chillai-Kalan' considered the harshest period of winter, when the chances of snowfall are maximum and the temperature drops considerably.
The Valley has already experienced heavy snowfall twice during this period so far, first one of January 6 and then on January 16, throwing life out of gear on both occasions.
'Chillai-Kalan', which, began on December 21 last year, ends on January 31, but the cold wave continues even after that.
The 40-day period is followed by a 20-day long 'Chillai- Khurd' (small cold) and a 10-day long 'Chillai-Bachha' (baby cold).
Meanwhile, the night temperature across the Valley and Ladakh region, except in Qazigund, improved from previous night.
Srinagar recorded the minimum of minus 1.3 degrees Celsius, an increase of two degrees from the previous night's minus 3.3 degrees Celsius, the MeT official said.
He said the famous health resort of Pahalgam in south Kashmir, which serves as a base camp for the annual Amarnath Yatra, registered a low of minus 3.6 degrees Celsius, up from the previous night's minus 7.2 degrees Celsius.
The official said the famous ski-resort of Gulmarg recorded a low of minus 6.0 degrees Celsius, four degrees up from minus 10 degrees Celsius on Saturday.
He said the resort was the coldest recorded place in the Valley. The official said Qazigund, the gateway town to Kashmir Valley, in south registered a low of minus 4.2 degrees Celsius, a degree down from the previous night's minus 3.2 degrees Celsius.